Cultivating employees’ entrepreneurial spirit

August 25, 2011

Since 2007, LinkedIn has been running monthly Hackdays (now, part of our Indays) that encourages our engineering teams to work on new and innovative projects. So far, we’ve had over 200 contributions, more than 50 winners, 14 projects featured on LinkedIn Labs, and over 15 products that have made it onto the LinkedIn site.

In a brown bag session a few months ago with our CEO Jeff Weiner, Iain Gilmore from our Marketing Solutions team in London asked if there was an opportunity for non technical employees to take part in Hackday. Jeff saw no reason for non-techies not to be involved and in true Captain Kirk style said “make it so” and thus INtrepreneur Day in Europe was born.

I raised my hand and with the help of Amanda Phillips organized the first installment of INtrepreneur Day, which was solely a European event. 100 employees from our teams in Amsterdam, Dublin, London and Stockholm attended the event and voted live on every submission made.

In total, 13 submissions were made displaying the entrepreneurial spirit of LinkedIn’s European employees from Finance, Human Resources, Customer Support, Marketing to Hiring Solutions. True to the LinkedIn spirit, all participants received a limited edition INtrepreneur t-shirt for their submission.

Each participant submitted a 3-minute recording to present their ideas to the business. The audience voted in real-time after each submission based on the idea’s entrepreneurial spirit, potential for user delight, how likely it could be implemented and how it supports the LinkedIn brand. All winners were announced within 5 minutes of the final screening.

The winners on the day were:

  • Ciara Fogarty & Wojciech Sieczkowski for “Recruiters who viewed my profile”: This will show LinkedIn Members which hiring managers visited their profile and the open jobs they are looking to fill.
  • Laura Benhamou for “Student Career Fairs”: Organize Career Fairs through LinkedIn so students can connect with companies and get career advice
  • Paul Duggan for “IN College Pages”: College version of our LinkedIn Company Pages

Each of the winners will receive personal feedback on their submissions from Jeff, a much coveted Life @ Linkedin jacket, and have their submissions forwarded to the respective product teams.

And, moving forward, we will make INtrepreneur Day a regular feature in LinkedIn inDays and plan to take INtrepreneur Day global next quarter.